Triggered magnetic energy release in solar flares

Y. Q. Hu*, X. Li, G. X. Ai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A numerical simulation is presented in this paper in terms of a two-dimensional, dissipative MHD model, concerning the magnetic energy release of a local quadrupolar force-free field with a high current layer. It is assumed that anomalous resistive dissipation occurs when electric current density exceeds a certain critical value. The magnetic energy release obtained is largely divided into two stages. The first stage lasts 1-2 minutes, characterized by anomalous resistive dissipation in the high current layer. As a result, the plasma in that layer is heated to 2 × 106 K, Bz (the shear component of the magnetic field) decreases, and the magnetic field lines descend there. The descending field lines squeeze the separatrix below and cause a growth of current on it. When the current density exceeds the critical value, the second stage begins: anomalous resistive dissipation and magnetic reconnection take place across the separatrix and convert magnetic energy into thermal energy. Such a process proceeds in a chain manner, and the maximum temperature in the separatrix reaches 1.8 × 107 K in less than 10 minutes. The anomalous resistive dissipation in the high current layer in the first stage plays the role of trigger for the magnetic energy release of the force-free field in the second stage. We suggest that this is a possible mechanism for magnetic energy release associated with solar flares.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-850
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 1995


  • MHD
  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: flares
  • Sun: magnetic fields


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